26 Jun 2010, 7:22am
Colorado
by admin

Cow Creek WFU Fire

Location: ~10 mi. NW of Estes Park, Larimer Co. CO
Specific Location: Mt. Dickinson, West Creek, Rocky Mountain NP, approximate Lat 40° 24´ 39″ 40° 28´ 00″ Lon 105° 31´ 54″ 105° 33´ 00″

Date of Origin: 06/24/2010
Cause: Lightning

Situation as of 09/16/2010 6:00 pm
Personnel: 20
Size: 1,056 acres
Percent Contained: 0%

Costs to Date: $2,600,000 (no update)

Creeping, single tree torching

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Situation as of 09/12/2023 4:30 pm
Personnel: 50
Size: 1,050 acres
Percent Contained: 0%

Costs to Date: $2,600,000 (no update)

New start down range with significant column visible from Estes Park. Cow Creek smoke production increased, which added to the over all big picture of Zone activity. Increase in fire activity today and expected tomorrow. Short runs on north aspect/south flank. Fire still contained to the West Creek Basin.

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Situation as of 09/09/2023 4:00 pm
Personnel: 30
Size: 1,001 acres
Percent Contained: 50%

Costs to Date: $2,600,000

Fire continues to move east through the West Creek bottom, W of the original Cow Creek Fire. Fire is established at the bottom of the N aspect of the Division Alpha ridgeline.

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Situation as of 07/03/2023 6:00 pm
Personnel: 83
Size: 916 acres
Percent Contained: 100%

Costs to Date: $2,282,505

100 percent of the containment objectives for the sections of the fire that are under a containment strategy have been achieved. This percentage does not apply to the area of the fire that is being monitored to meet resource objectives.

Idaho City IHC rehabbed helispot and were released at 1300. Installed monitoring camera for long-term intelligence. Recon flights for RMNP personnel. Transition back to local unit at 2000 tonight.

THIS WILL BE THE LAST #209 UNTIL SIGNIFICANT ACTIVITY OCCURS. A “final” #209 will be submitted when RMNP feels confident in achieving full containment and control around entire perimeter of this fire. Be advised, this incident IS NOT contained; only the northeastern, eastern and southern flanks where suppression action was taken were fully 100% contained.

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Situation as of 07/01/2024 6:00 pm
Personnel: 234
Size: 914 acres
Percent Contained: 80%

Costs to Date: $1,908,072

80 percent of the containment objectives for the sections of the fire that are under a containment strategy have been achieved. This percentage does not apply to the area of the fire that is being monitored to meet resource objectives.

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Situation as of 06/30/2010 6:00 pm
Personnel: 234
Size: 911 acres
Percent Contained: 60%

Costs to Date: $1,672,523

Crews continue to monitor and improve and construct fireline on the E, S and SW flanks. No containment is anticipated for the N and W flanks, where fire is being monitored and allowed to burn to meet resource objectives. Completed first draft of the Long Term Implementation Plan.

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Situation as of 06/29/2010 6:00 pm
Personnel: 228
Size: 903 acres
Percent Contained: 40%

Costs to Date: $1,336,137

Forty percent containment refers to the S and E flanks of the fire where resources have been committed. No containment is anticipated for the N and W flanks, where fire is being monitored and allowed to burn to meet resource objectives.

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Situation as of 06/28/2010 6:00 pm
Personnel: 237
Size: 897 acres
Percent Contained: 10%

Costs to Date: $929,963

Suppression actions are occurring on the E, S, and NE flanks of the fire. Only 10% of the containment objectives for the sections of the fire that are under a containment strategy have been achieved. This percentage does not account for the areas of the fire that are being monitored, not suppressed.

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Situation as of 06/27/2010 6:00 pm
Personnel: 190
Size: 888 acres
Percent Contained: 5%

Costs to Date: $650,000

Structures Threatened: 0 PRIM , 0 COMM , 0 OUTB  Structures Destroyed: NONE

Rocky Mountain Type 2 Team B (Pechota) assumed command of the fire at 0600. Only 5% of the containment objectives for the sections of the fire that are under a suppression strategy have been achieved. This percentage does not account for the areas of the fire that are being monitored to meet resource objectives (that is, not under a suppression strategy).

Planning is in place to develop mitigation measures to meet all Dutch Creek Guidance. Initial planning and strategies as part of a Long Term Implementation Plan are being developed. The LTIP will outline Management Action Points (MAP) which will guide actions to protect values at risk and to meet resource objectives (that is, allow the fire to burn without efforts to contain, control, or extinguish).

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Situation as of 06/26/2010 8:00 pm
Personnel: 95
Size: 1,500 acres
Percent Contained: 5%

Costs to Date: $150,000

Structures Threatened: 100 PRIM , 50 COMM , 10 OUTB Structures Destroyed: NONE

Planned Actions: Direct Line construction, air support to limit growth down drainage 12 hours - moderate increase in acreage towards E and NE 24 hours - moderate increase in acreage toward E and NE, possible large growth to W.  Type 3 Team (Tenneson).

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Update 4:30 pm 6/26/2010: fire is over 1,500 acres. Glen Haven is reportedly being evacuated on evacuation alert.

Situation as of 06/25/2010 6:00 pm
Personnel: 95
Size: 250 acres
Percent Contained: 0%

Structures Threatened: 100 PRIM , 50 COMM , 10 OUTB Structures Destroyed: NONE

Little progress made after Initial Attack. Numerous mid-range spot fires, torching, short slope-induced crown runs. Type 1 crews and SMKJs are recommended (other than structure protection) Type 2 IMT has been ordered.

26 Jun 2010, 12:59pm
by Steve Belz


The lat/long coordinates displayed on this site have the Cow Creek fire located about 4 to 5 miles south of its actual location.

Reply: the Lat/Long coordinates are copied and pasted without error from the 209 report as presented by the Rocky Mountain GACC. However, they could be wrong. I did not visit the fire and GPS it myself. I will look into the matter.

26 Jun 2010, 1:45pm
by Mike


45 minutes ago Channel 9 News in Denver reported [here]

ESTES PARK - The Cow Creek Fire burning in Rocky Mountain National Park grew rapidly overnight, covering 800 acres on Saturday. Officials say erratic winds are continuing to push the blaze to the north, west and northeast.

The National Park Service says the fire is burning one mile south of Mount Dickinson, which is about six miles west of Glen Haven in the West Creek, and seven miles from the nearest road. Smoke from the fire can be seen from Longmont to Fort Collins. …

After inspecting Google Earth, Mt. Dickinson and West Creek are indeed ~5 miles north of the Lat/Long coordinates reported on the 209. The fire is evidently closer to 40-28-00, 105-33-00, roughly.

Thank you, Steve, for pointing that out.

Channel 9 is also reporting the fire at 800 acres. At this time, the Cow Creek Fire has not yet been listed on InciWeb. Additionally from Channel 9:

No evacuations have been ordered, but residents in the town of Glen Haven have been warned they could be ordered to do so. One person who lives there told 9NEWS fire crews are going door to door to warn residents.

Park Rangers hiked the North Fork Drainage in the park Friday night to tell the 24 registered back country campers in the area to hike out, they say. All 24 campers are reported to have hiked out of the area.

Officials say the fire was only three-to-five acres on Thursday and had only gotten up to 10 to 12 acres on Friday morning. By Friday evening, it was up to 200 acres.

McGraw Ranch Road is now closed to the public due to safety reasons, but residents along the road are not being asked to evacuate.

Several trails inside the park have also been closed as a precaution, including the Cow Creek Trailhead and the North Boundary Trail. McGraw Ranch Road has also been closed.

Ground crews had to disengage from active operations on Friday afternoon because of the fire’s erratic behavior.

The National Park Service says 10,000 gallons of water and six retardant drops were made Friday. Smokejumpers were deployed and more air crews have been requested to fight the blaze.

The cause of the fire is suspected to be lightning.

Authorities say the last time this area burned was in 1646 and the last big fire in Rocky Mountain National Park was the Ouzel Fire in 1978.

26 Jun 2010, 4:04pm
by paty


Spoke with my brother a couple of hours ago. He says Glen Haven has been evacuated (yesterday my sister-in-law and nieces all moved in with friends in Estes Park), as he lives there I figure he knows what he’s talking about.

26 Jun 2010, 4:30pm
by Mike


Thank you, Paty.

One hour ago Channel 9 News in Denver reported [here]

ESTES PARK - The Cow Creek Fire in Rocky Mountain National Park has grown to 1,500 acres, or 2.3 square miles. Authorities say it is now burning 3 miles from nearest structure, and is only 1 mile away from the eastern border of the park.

The blaze has grown rapidly, increasing by 700 acres on Saturday alone. Officials say erratic winds are continuing to push the blaze to the north, west and northeast. …

No evacuations have been ordered, but residents in the town of Glen Haven have been warned they could be ordered to do so. One person who lives there told 9NEWS fire crews are going door to door to warn residents.

Paty reports (comment above) that evacuations may in fact be underway in Glen Haven. They might be voluntary at this time. Please update us if you have timely information.

26 Jun 2010, 4:38pm
by chris


The fire is no nearer to cow creek as it is to glen haven…why isnt it named after the west creek drainage? They need to let it burn if they are not sure of the cause (being in the NPS, wilderness area) and the only structure in imminent damage is a backcountry patrol cabin near Kettle Tarn.

And there is a trail that runs into upper west creek btw.

Reply: 1. Fires names are an issue of long dispute and discussion. We don’t name them, that’s for sure.

2. Regardless of cause, much damage to resources (watersheds, wildlife habitat, old-growth, etc.) is taking place. Fire does not respect legal designations or boundaries. There are hundreds of residences downwind and at risk, not to mention public health issues from the smoke that may affect tens of thousands of people.

3. Trails in the area have been closed. Backpackers and hikers are being searched for and asked to depart.

26 Jun 2010, 5:08pm
by Mike


Still no mention of this fire at InciWeb. No update since yesterday (posted this morning) at the Rocky Mtn GACC. Colorado State Forestry does not track fires. No news release from the CO Dept. of Public Health and the Environment. Latest (only) report from Rocky Mountain National Park was at 9:30 am pegging the fire at 800 acres [here]. No update from Wildlandfire.com since this morning. No update at Wildfiretoday.com.

Other than Twitter and Channel 9, it looks like we’re it right now. W.I.S.E. Fire Tracking is set up to provide narratives of fires from beginning to end on a daily basis, not to provide up-to-the-minute information. We don’t have access to such. However, if visitors have that kind of information, we are happy to post it. So please send it in by leaving a comment below. We are manning the computer today and will post comments as they arrive.

26 Jun 2010, 7:12pm
by Brian


My wife talked to her parents, who live in Glenhaven (the Retreat to be more specific) at around 5:30 local time. The had not yet been evacuated but had been put on alert that they could be evacuated.

26 Jun 2010, 8:43pm
by Jim


Thanks for the update Brian. We have cabins off of Pine Brook in Glenhaven. Not being up there right now and getting regularly updated information is difficult at best.

26 Jun 2010, 9:54pm
by Mike


Too difficult! We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: large wildfires that threaten communities put the onus on government emergency services to report conditions in a frequent, timely, and accessible fashion. But they don’t!

It is far too difficult to extract useful information from diverse and peripatetic agencies who are paid and staffed to provide that information! Public health and safety are at risk, as are lives of responders, local residents, and visitors. There really is no excuse for withholding and/or failing to provide critical and timely information, if only to dispel rumors. I don’t know why our emergency services are so inept and incompetent at informing the public, but they are, and it is very frustrating!

29 Jun 2010, 10:01am
by Larry C.


I was up on Crosier Pk. directly across (east) of this fire on Friday morning June 25th. It looked like the fire had burned less than 10 acres at that time (10am). I guess I cant help but wonder why more effort wasnt put into extinguishing the fire at that point in time. To my untrained eyes it looked like the fire was all but out. I was amazed at what it looked like at 2pm.

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